First Division - Day 13

Real Sociedad 2 - Barcelona 1

Real Sociedad: Westerveld; López Rekarte, Jauregi, Schürrer, Aranzábal; Xabi Alonso, Aranburu; Karpin, Nihat (Tayfun 85'), De Pedro; Kovacevic (Khokhlov 90'). 4-2-3-1.
Barcelona: Bonano; Reiziger (Overmars 60'), Puyol, Cocu, Fernando Navarro; Gabri (Rochemback 68'), Xavi; Saviola (Geovanni 82'), Riquelme, Motta; Kluivert. 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Real: Aranburu, Nihat, De Pedro for Boris, Khokhlov, Gabilondo / Barcelona: Fernando Navarro, Saviola for De Boer, Mendieta.

0-1. 34. Kluivert. Long shot which hit post and bounced back in off Westerveld.
1-1. 40. Kovacevic. Headed unmarked over Bonano from long Alonso free kick.
2-1. 53. Kovacevic. Ran on to De Pedro through ball to chip shot over Bonano.

Real Sociedad moved three points clear at the top of the table after beating Barcelona 2-1 in a rainy Anoeta stadium. Van Gaal brought in Saviola and Riquelme to the starting line up after leaving them out against Bayer Leverkusen midweek, with cocu dropping back to cover for the injured Frank De Boer and Mendieta left on the bench. However Raynald Denoueix's side over-ran the Catalans in the opening minutes, with Nihat, Karpin and Kovacevic all going close and Bonano saving well when Nihat got through on goal. However the visitors scored with their first real attempt at goal, Kluivert's long speculative shot hitting the post and bouncing in to the net off the shoulder of the Westerveld, who was stretched out on the ground.

Kovacevic levelled the scores though soon afterwards, getting away from his marker to head Xabi Alonso's free kick over Bonano, and the keeper had to be at his best after the restart to tip a shot from Aranburu over the bar and then stop another effort from Kovacevic. Two minutes later the Yugoslav striker put his side ahead after Fernando Navarro had failed to cut out De Pedro's through ball, running on to clip the ball over the advancing Bonano.

Van Gaal brought on Overmars and then Rochemback, but Real kept up the pressure, with Nihat bringing another save out of the keeper and Aranburu hitting the post. Soon afterwards Barcelona were reduced to ten men when Motta was sent off for insulting the referee, and in the last minute Overmars followed him after getting two yellow cards in succession from referee Pino Zamorano, the second for protesting the first. The defeat leaves Barcelona down in tenth place, their worst start to the season in over 30 years and a complete contrast to their Champions League form, where they have won nine in a row. Real Sociedad keep up their unbeaten record, and must now be considered serious contenders for a third league title.